back to article Steve Jobs must face the music in court

Lawyers will get two hours to question Apple supremo Steve Jobs as part of an anti-trust case brought against Apple and iTunes. Judge Howard Lloyd of US District Court for Northern California said Jobs could only be questioned on relevant changes to software made in October 2004. The case is a class action suit. Plaintiffs …

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RealNetworks - yuk

Anyone or anything that stopped the progress of realplayer/realnetworks deserves a medal if you ask me.

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Stop

think different?

Would you think differently if someone illegally blocked you from having a job?

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FAIL

If that job

Was based on me having hacked a proprietary DRM format so that I could sell similarly DRMed content then I'd expect any loophole I'd found to be closed (the music studios insisted that DRM security be maintained). Complaining that closing a security loophole is uncompetitive is insane.

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Weird Logic

So you own a bridge you built yourself and you have gates on both ends where your customers have to go through your shop to get to the bridge. Someone finds a hole in the fence and starts running a bus service straight to the hole in the fence so people can cross the bridge without going through your shops. You plank up the hole in the fence so people can't cross that way anymore. You're saying the person running that bus service or the bus passengers have a right to sue you because you ruined their business or their means of crossing your bridge. Right.

Of course if your bridge is the only way of crossing the river, there is a different issue. But was that the case? Nope.

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Grasping at straws

If your business model fails - litigate the arse off anyone that's doing better than you....

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And if your buisness model succeedes

Still litigate the arse off everyone, that's modern business practice.

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@ Andy 97

By your logic that should read "if a massive unethical globocorp ruins your livelihood, quit bitching and move on"

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And if your business model fails because...

... someone deliberately shut your service down or rendered it inoperable, would that be grounds to sue?

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WTF?

This is unbelievable...

... RealNetworks are still going?

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more than being blocked

RealNetworks may add to it's legal action against Apple for blocking subscriptions from being sold through iDevices. And it would be right to do so.

Clearly Apple wants to block Apple customers from gaining any benefit from any media with which Apple does not get a 30% cut. And that means they all have to raise prices significantly.

Apple wants to force alternative souces of media to charge more. It protects the monopoly Apple thinks it has in iTunes. Keeping others charging high prices. And keeping other out of the Apple devices.

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WTF?

If you're gonna comment on an article...

.

...try READING IT and COMPREHENDING IT FIRST!..

This happened in 2004 - some 7 years ago! Where are you going with this blocking subscriptions, 30% cut, and force sources to charging more crap!

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Coat

Re: RealNetworks are still going?

Still caching...

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Anonymous Coward

Lewis Mettier at it again

OMG Mettier I think you should get a medal really for such brave dedication to a cause, and by dedication i mean lying so much.

Also I think you forgot to add your trademark "Apple customers are stupid" on this post, tired fingers?

I'm even starting to wonder if you're really a person or some bot using that multiple persona software the failed lot at HBGary were developing.

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Pint

Lewis!

The man, the myth! The poster boy for the Apple haters!

This was nearly a decade ago, nothing to do with the latest stuff app-store guff. We get it, you are on a one man crusade against Apple, highly commenable but you sound like a stuck record.

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Grenade

@Lewis 'bile pump' Mettler

Dear god man, get a grip.

So the Spotify app on my iPhone must a figment of my imagination.

Hate Apple if you want, but at least have the decency to hate them for things they actually do.

Real went down the pan because of their low audio quality advertat supported bloatware, not because Apple blocked them from the iPod. Real Audio was the Adobe Flash of music. Get over it.

Tit.

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Re

"Real went down the pan because of their low audio quality advertat supported bloatware, not because Apple blocked them from the iPod."

Yeah, I'm sure it has nothing to do with 80% of the market being unable to use their files. Riiight.

If Microsoft was sued and "hated" for installing IE with Windows, then Apple should be dissolved over iTunes. At least with Microsoft you could install other browsers if you wanted to. With Apple you're not allowed to do anything.

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Re: Bullswotsits

"Yeah, I'm sure it has nothing to do with 80% of the market being unable to use their files. Riiight"

So how do you explain any operating system other than Windows surviving all these years if those OSs had their own native filesystems that Microsoft provided no support for in Windows? I'll tell you how - they adapted to use Microsoft's preferred filesystems ALONGSIDE their own.

If Real had been serious about staying in business they'd have improved their RealPlayer product to allow exporting those niche RA files to MP3 to be compatible with everyone else. It's not Apple's fault that they refused to adapt to the realities of the marketplace.

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Anonymous Coward

If Apple reall got rid of RealPlayer

I will eat my words and buy an apple.

death to RealPlayer

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Anonymous Coward

Right that does it...

I can't play my favourite <insert any company's proprietary format> on <insert another company's media playing device>, therefore I have been locked out, it's anti-competitive and I'm going to sue.

What a daft argument. Perhaps RealNetworks should have looked at partnering with other device manufacturers (or, gasp, built their own!) to ensure their formats could be played back. They'd have had the right to lock out Apple Lossless or AAC format files if they liked, I'm sure Apple wouldn't have sued them for trying it.

Seems to me that not supporting a competitor's format does NOT equate to an unfair business practice. If it did, MS would have been sued out of existence YEARS ago for trying to make living in a dual Mac/WinPC world much more awkward than it ever needed to be, despite Apple's best efforts to accommodate for Windows users.

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re:Right that does it...

It's worse than that. What Real actually did was pull an extremely questionable hack to get their files encoded by iTunes with encryption. Apple fixed the security hole that they used to perform this probably-illegal trick, and so it no longer worked.

Base your business on dodgy security holes, and find things don't work when they're closed. Enough malware writers have hit the problem on Windows, but you don't see them whinging.

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The real issue

File formats shouldn't sodding well be proprietary in the first place!

Or, if they really have to be, then the duration of any legal IP protection on the file format should be no longer than the MTBF of the reading device. This way, all but the very earliest adopters will have access to a competitive marketplace as and when they come to replace their hardware.

Interoperability of all manufacturers' hardware should be the prime consideration which trumps all corporate interests. Imagine if you couldn't call or text someone whose phone was on a different network from yours; or if you had to buy all new appliances when you changed your electricity supplier because the voltage, frequency and plugs were different between manufacturers.

Flames: As in Baltimore, Maryland, February 1904.

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Anonymous Coward

Real had a choice

This wasn't an issue of file formats, Real could have sold their music DRM free in MP3 or unencrypted AAC and it would work just fine.

The problem was that Real wanted both interoperability AND to keep their DRM intact, so they essentialy hacked iTunes to convert their DRM into Apple's.

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reminds me of the Palm Pré

I loved the pre but not the crap way palm tried to use to integrate with iTunes. I ended up using Double Twist and Winamp to get my music on the thing. I can't wait to see what HP propose to do with the Pad and new Pre models because if it relies on bloody play lists to transfer music I won't be happy.

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Re

"They'd have had the right to lock out Apple Lossless or AAC format files if they liked, I'm sure Apple wouldn't."

RealPlayer didn't have 80%+ of the market. And Apple would have if they did.

"What a daft argument."

So you backed Microsoft in the IE antitrust case then? I'm willing to bet a large sum of money that you're an Apple fanboy hypocrite.

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Re: Bullseyed

"RealPlayer didn't have 80%+ of the market. And Apple would have if they did."

Market share has nothing to do with it, and Apple wouldn't have if it did. See what I did there? I used the same none argument as you.

"I'm willing to bet a large sum of money that you're an Apple fanboy hypocrite."

You lose a large sum of money. Yes, I've used Macs for over 25 years, but I've also used Windows boxes since Windows 1 (DOS boxes before that) and for the past decade my life has included Linux boxes too. What part of stating that no company has an obligation to support another company's formats is fanboyism?

Here's a good example. Does Windows support the HFS+ filesystem out of the box? Answer: No (despite its free license).

Conversely, does OSX support FAT32 and NTFS filesystems out of the box? Answer: FAT32 yes, NTFS Read-only (limited by MS licensing).

That's a good example of Apple including support for other people's proprietary formats where no support for Apple formats is offered by that competitor.

I'm willing to bet that large sum of money I just won from you that you haven't a clue what you're talking about when it comes to living and working in a multi-platform environment.

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Jobs Horns

Arrogant people can make terrible witnesses and, boy, is Jobs arrogant

Certain types of people and professions are simply not cut out for being good witnesses, Lawyers are terrible as they know the law and try to think their way ahead whilst being examined.

Jobs fit another category of poor witnesses for even if he gets coached to the nth degree, one slip and a chasm can open and a good attorney can march an army through it.

Should be interesting to learn what happens.

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Persona's

Don't mistake Job's perceived public persona with his private or professional one.

I'm no fan but he has swam with and eaten much bigger sharks than Reals lawyers for most of his career. He's arguably a CEO at the top of his game.

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Hey, I have an idea...

... why don't YOU and Lewis Mettier get together and compare notes to see who has the most convoluted, less-comprehending, personally attacking bit of writing MESS the both of you can come up with that will cause everyones head to explode and put The Reg out of it's misery of having to print your 'unrelated to the article' garbage!

Then combine.

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Unhappy

Jobs extensive corporate knowledge could be risky

You made a good point.

Questioning people at the top of the structure means they have so many things to be wary of ranging from corporate duties, shareholder interest, etc.

Questioning a person lower down the corporate ladder allows companies wriggle room if malfeasance is exposed.

No doubt Apple lawyers will be filing objections by the ton so they can respond in writing, after careful deliberation.

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Does anyone...

...seriously use RealMedia anymore? Seriously, I stopped using it long before I had my first iPod (20GB gen2).

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Re

Proof that the case has merit. Apple's antitrust actions killed a company. Based on US law, they owe damages.

Now I don't like this law, IBM and Microsoft should have been allowed to take over the world in the 80s and 90s. Since we crucified them, Apple must be as well.

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Re: Bullseyed

"IBM and Microsoft should have been allowed to take over the world in the 80s and 90s"

Pure fanboi if ever I saw one.

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RealNetworks

As an organisation they have never recovered from the behemoth that was RealPlayer, doesn't matter how good their software is too many people remember that POS.

Personally I think that the RMVB codec is about the only good thing to come out of them. Reasonable quality with low file size. Use the Real Alternative to play it back and you need never have real player anywhere near your system.

As to their spat with Apple, a plague on both their houses, the only bad thing is the lawyers will get rich.

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More evil than Apple

If there is any company more EVIL than Apple, I vote for RealNetworks.

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File format

How can a file format be "proprietary" ?

It's a sodding file format.

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Trivially

The default format used by every part of the Microsoft Office suite is proprietary (the current version is half-so, as it's a non-compliant version of a real standard that isn't possible to implement).

In every industry you'll find proprietary file formats being used - either to enforce vendor lock-in, or because there isn't currently an ISO, ANSI or existing open standard format for that purpose.

You may wish to guess which reason is more prevalent.

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Grenade

Real Player is bad?

Well, yes indeed it is. It is many a long year since I was foolish enough to allow that garbage anywhere near a machine I own. However I have to say that it is entertaining to hear criticism from the Cupertinies on this thread given iTunes, hmm? When it comes to garbage software iTunes belongs in the same bin as RealPlayer, for much the same reasons.

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Anonymous Coward

iTunes in the bin?

"When it comes to garbage software iTunes belongs in the same bin as RealPlayer, for much the same reasons."

Why's that? For me it seems iTunes organises my mp3 collection quite efficiently. It's much quicker than organising it by hand that's for sure.

I seem to remember RealPlayer having none of the features that make iTunes useful and a lot of bad quality audio codecs that you couldn't use with any other player, and streaming being pitifully bad.

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Jobs Halo

No Business Model

RealPlayer had no viable business model, that's their fundamental problem. They had a codec --- maybe one of the first, but eventually everyone had a codec as well. They're no different from Netscape, whose flagship product became a commodity that they could no longer profit off of.

And for everyone who remembers... RealPlayer was a pretty evil piece of annoyware/spyware.

Good riddance.

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an interesting question ?

> Lawyers will get two hours to question Apple supremo Steve Jobs as part of an anti-trust case brought against Apple and iTunes ..

Who brought the class action lawsuit ?

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Jobs Horns

Let the dogs loose.

Finally the antritrust dogs are sniffing at Apple`s door. They will not go away. Expect multiple antitrust cases spanning years.... maybe a decade. And LOTS of fines.

Apple is where microsoft was in the nineties. Monopolistic, anti-competitive, and too arroagant to care.

I can`t wait. This is going to be fun.

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Why?

"Finally the antritrust dogs are sniffing at Apple`s door. They will not go away. Expect multiple antitrust cases spanning years.... maybe a decade. And LOTS of fines"

What for? Plugging a hole in their DRM that Real shouldn't have been using in the first place?

Maybe you think burglars should be allowed to bring action against home owners who lock up their houses.

Apple might well be monopolistic, but they're a long way short of being a monopoly anywhere other than the music player and still-very-young tablet markets with 5% of the PC market, 28% of the digital music market and 4% of the phone market.

Even in the music player market itself, where they have 73% of the share, their devices are not tethered to Apple for their primary purpose. They play several DRM-free formats and can be loaded from quite a few pieces of third party software so you don't even have to load iTunes on your computer never mind actually have to use it if you don't want to.

If you have a look around the comments for other Apple stories there are another couple of rabid anti-Apple guys who might like to form a club with you.

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Linux

Let the dogs loose....

"Apple is where microsoft was in the nineties. Monopolistic, anti-competitive, and too arroagant to care."

I'm wondering if the Woz had to give up his liver too?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why?

And don't forget that the difference with Apple is that they build their own hardware to run their software on. Antitrust only applied to MS because they used unfair business practices to force their software onto the majority hardware from other manufacturers and aggressively closed out competitors. If Windows had been running purely on MS-built hardware I doubt they'd have faced those antitrust cases.

The MS and Apple comparison never holds up to a reality-check.

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